Red Flag alert issued in Berkeley Hills with dry lightning in the forecast

Update, Sept. 10, 9:45 a.m. The Red Flag warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Berkeley and East Bay hills was canceled around 9 a.m. this morning with storms moving out of the area. It was originally scheduled to last until 11 a.m.

Original story, Sept. 9 Dry thunder and lightning expected in Berkeley and the East Bay beginning Thursday evening could cause wildfires in the hills, the National Weather Service advised in a Red Flag warning.

There’s a small chance of rain in Berkeley Friday morning, according to NWS meteorologist Brayden Murdock, but not enough to offset the dry conditions.

“Unfortunately, though the rain doesn’t make it to the ground, the wind that [the storm] causes, does,” Murdock said. Those winds could reach 30-40 mph in the hills, in eastern areas of Alameda County and going into Contra Costa County.

The winds will serve to blow away most of the smoke remaining in the Bay Area from wildfires in Northern California, but there is a chance that new wildfires could start.

Temperatures will remain in the low 70s to high 60s in Berkeley, and the Red Flag warning is currently in place until Friday at 10 a.m.

The state power grid operator has also issued a Flex Alert from 4-9 p.m. Thursday due to an increase in electricity demand from air conditioning units. During a Flex Alert, residents are asked to conserve energy in peak daytime hours and cut back wherever possible.

On Red Flag days, you should follow this advice: 

  • Keep your phone on, charged and in your pocket throughout the day. 
  • Fill up your tank with gas and pack your trunk with your go bag and extra water. Keep in mind that garage doors operating on electricity may not open, but avoid parking on the street.
  • Avoid activities that could cause a spark. 
  • Be prepared to rapidly evacuate if needed. 

Authorities say you should strongly consider preemptive relocation on Red Flag days.